This article has been submitted to M. H. de Nimot, secretary of the Association des Maitres des Forges, at Charleroi, Belgium. M. de Nimot objects to my statement that the working people of Belgium are " bound to the vocations of their fathers." I deem it justice to him to offer his protest, but I believe that the argumeut herein given portrays a real difference between the workmen of Belgium and America.
Belgium is essentially a fuel-producing country. In 1900 she raised 23,462,817 tons of coal, which is about one-tenth of the production of the United States or of Great Britain. The production of coke was-3,434,6 78 tons. Table XXVIII-A shows that three-fourths of all the coal and coke comes from the province of Hainaut on the border of France, and the remainder from Liege. The Belgian coal mines have reached a great depth, which increases the cost of operation, and there is much trouble from gas in the beds, causing fearful explosions which no care can prevent. The average working depth in Hainaut is 1600 feet, while some mines run from 34-00 to 3800 feet. It is estimated that the coal will last from one hundred to two hundred years, this period being the same as that assigned to the deposits of Central France, the North of England and Central Bohemia.
The average cost of coal at the mines for the whole country for 1899 was officially given at 10.72 francs=$2.07 per ton, and the average selling price $2.40. In 1900 the cost was $2.78 and the selling price $3.48. The average price of coke was $3.96 at the ovens in 1899, but in 1900 the price averaged $4.18, although blast furnace coke was sold at an average of $3.40 per metric ton. One-fifth, of all the coal raised, and over one-third of all the coke made, is exported, most of these shipments going to France. On the other hand, the imports of coal amount to one-seventh as much as is raised, and a considerable quantity of coke is brought in, these imports coming from Westphalia across the eastern border, while the exports go southward. The Westphalian coke is superior to the